Hampton Roads motorists to get some relief at the pump

Average gas prices in the Hampton Roads area represents a 15-cent increase from last month.

VIRGINIA BEACH — Motorists might have a little bit of relief at the pump this week.

Average gas prices in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia are hovering around $2.62, according to a news release from AAA.

“If this past week’s moderate increases are any indicator of what’s to come, the rapid rate at which gas prices were increasing may be slowing down,” said Georjeane Blumling, spokeswoman for AAA Tidewater Virginia, in a news release. “On the week, the national average held steady and 19 state averages remained flat or saw decreases in gas prices. Despite this stability, drivers on the West Coast and in Idaho, Utah and Pennsylvania are paying $3 per gallon.”

The average price of $2.62, represents a 15-cent increase from last month and a 46-cent increase from last year.

Information about the current gas prices can be found at AAA’s website.

The average price nationwide is $2.81 per gallon.

Gas prices usually rise between April and September because that is when Americans traditionally hit the road for vacation and refineries switch over to higher-priced “summer” gasoline, which is blended to reduce smog.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. driver can expect to pay $190 — or 14 percent — more for gas this summer.

The biggest reason for higher gas prices, experts say, is an increase in crude oil prices, which recently topped $70 per barrel, about $20 more per barrel than last year.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following tips to help drivers save on gasoline:

• Drive the speed limit. Every 5 mph over 60 mph costs an additional 24 cents per gallon of gas.

• Avoid idling, which burns fuel unnecessarily.

• Check tire pressure. Keeping tires properly inflated can save up to 11 cents per gallon.

• Combine errands into one trip — a vehicle uses less fuel when the engine is warmed up during a longer trip, versus when starting it cold for several short trips.

• Telecommute, carpool or use public transportation.

• If buying a new vehicle, choose an efficient one.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.